Got Social?

How we decided who gets into our network

With all the social networks out there, how do you decide who you “approve”?  Do you find this decision particularly complex given the different nature of each social network.  Let me give you and example.

Because of work, I have registered for a LOT of social networks.  For instance, I’m on both Facebook and MySpace.  If a faculty members asks me why one is better than the other, I need to be able to respond.  If someone wants to know what the differences are between Plurk and Twitter, I need to speak from experience.  Why?  Because thats part of my job, thats part of what I’m supposed to do.

Now, there are definitely some networks I spend my time in and others I do not.  I actively participate in Twitter.  I do not actively participate in Plurk.  I use an application call Ping.fm to update my status in all my networks.  That is what Plurk was designed to do.  This way I don’t have to open each one and update things, since that just would not happen.  So I send my status update to Ping and it goes to Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, Friendfeed, and so on.  But I have a note right in my Plurk profile that says I do not monitor that account actively.

My basic networks are Twitter, Facebook, and Linked in.  Each is very different in its approach.

With Twitter, when someone follows me, I look at their tweet time line and if there is an interest in what they are saying, I follow them back.  Only if I know someone very well will I follow them if their tweets are protected.  With the exception of children, I don’t see the point of subscribing to Twitter and then protecting your tweets – but thats just me. But I will follow almost anyone, known to me or not, as long as their contribution to my time line will seem interesting.  This is a very broad network.

With Facebook, I’m a bit more restrictive, since there is a greater possibility for “more” information to be shared.  I started out only friending work related people but my social network (family, high school, etc…) caught up very quickly.  I joined FB for a professional reason, I did it for work, not to socialize.  That changes at some point, and I’m ok with that.  If there is not a clear connection to someone, I won’t friend them back.  In fact, in my INFO area, I ask that if someone I don’t know very well is going to friend me, please include some text in the friending process to let me know who you are.  I’m pretty willing to let people in, if I know how I know them.  So this is a more restricted network.

With LinkedIn, in the past, I have been VERY tight with letting people in.  In fact, LinkedIn very clearly states that people you allow in your network should be people you know and can vouch for their work.  But LinkedIn has grown beyond that, I think, and is taking on a much more casual tone about people being in the network.  I’m getting people I barely know asking to join my network.  Until now, I’ve not accepted since I can’t, as the company says, “vouch for their work”.  But that all seems to have changed, now, or so it seems – perhaps I’m wrong.  This, for me, is my most restricted network.

How do you decided to follow on Twitter?  When do you decided to drop someone?  Do you care if you follow someone and they don’t follow you back?

How do you decided who to friend on Facebook?  How do you decide when to accept a friend request?  How about deciding what groups to join or when to accept a “I know SOandSO and I think you know him/her also” friend suggestions?  How closely do you follow people on Facebook?  Have you ever dropped a friend and, if so, why?

Do you only accept networking with people on LinkedIn when you know them very well AND can vouch for their work?  Has the focus of LinkedIn changed in that respect?  Who do you let in and why (or why not)?  How do you determine who to let in?

Are there other online social networks you are part of that you have to make decision like the above for?  If so, which ones and how and when do you make those decisions.

  • Anthony D. says:

    This is simple for me because I only deal with Twitter as I do not like Facebook. I usually only approve people I either know or have been recommended to me. I have gone to several workshops where either Lisa Thumann has presented and I have chosen to follow people like her and a few others I know that are either great presenters or bloggers. This covers a lot of educators. I also add people I have met at a workshop or are web design/photoshop people because their resources are invaluable to me as a web design teacher.

    People who follow me that have one or 2 followers or only follow 1 or 2 people I block immediately. I get too many strange requests or spam from twitter followers and I do not have time to waste.

    PS – As a die hard sports fab I tend to follow a lot of media people to get updates on my favorite teams plus the local news from NJ.com

    December 19, 2009 at 9:37 am
  • Jeremy Kemp says:

    How appropriate now that “unfreind” is the word of the year. http://mashable.com/2009/11/16/unfriend-word-of-the-year/ Don’t tell anyone – but I am a complete slut on all social networks. My judgment is dulled by intoxication with this new medium.

    December 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm
  • Margaret Czart says:

    The three social networks I use are: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Twitter is maily used only to follow others for the latest professional/work related purposes and local news.

    Facebook is a more casual work related area. For example, I most recently met someone who manages a Public Health group and works at CDC. However, I do connect with old friends. I “friend” only those people I know or who are recommended by one of my friends. I have heard some really bad stories about damaged careers due to Facebook.

    LinkedIn is “very strickly” used for professional purposes. Employers to look at this site. So, I am very careful with whom I do connect. It is a professional only site for me.

    December 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm
  • Ignatius Onomatopoeia says:

    I hope they don’t mind waiting months. I think I check Linkedin quarterly, at best. Twitter is too new to me to make any suggestions. If they follow me, cool. As for Second Life, I clean house every year of anyone on the friends list who I don’t recognize any longer.

    December 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm
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